TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida could soon be the hottest spot in the country for professional sports.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Wednesday that he plans to open up the Sunshine State to any professional sports team that wants to resume activity.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus
"All professional sports are welcome here for practicing and for playing," DeSantis said at a news conference in Tallahassee. "What I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won't let them operate, we'll find a place for you here in the state of Florida."
GOVERNOR ON SPORTS:
Last month, the Florida Division of Emergency Management said professional sports are considered “essential services” and can resume in Florida, provided they are closed to the general public.
The governor said on Wednesday that while sporting events may not necessarily have fans at first, he's welcoming all teams from all professional leagues.
"We want to have you here," DeSantis said. "We want to have the basketball practicing again. We would love to have the Major League Baseball."
The governor's decision follows a similar move by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who announced that professional sports including Major League Baseball, the NBA, NHL, and NFL can resume without fans starting on Saturday.
"All these professional sports are gonna be welcome in Florida," DeSantis said.
The governor noted that some high-profile sporting events are already scheduled to take place in the Sunshine State, including a celebrity golf match at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound on May 24.
In that match, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods will take on Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson to raise $10 million for coronavirus relief efforts.
"Our people are starved to have some of this back in their lives," DeSantis said. "It's an important part of people's lives."